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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Elected Deputy Positions Challenged

Elected deputy mayors and governors have come under fire from federal prosecutors pressing to replace them with appointees, a move that could cost a number of deputies, including Moscow's deputy mayor, their jobs.

The Moscow City Court is reviewing a suit submitted by the Prosecutor General's Office calling for deputy mayors and governors to be prohibited from running for office.

At the core of the dispute, which last Friday pushed Moscow region Deputy Governor Mikhail Men to resign, is a discrepancy between federal and regional legislation.

Federal provisions on guaranteeing citizens' electoral rights say that only the president, governors and mayors can be elected.

However, the Constitution says each region must decide how to form its executive bodies.

In many regions, including Moscow and the Moscow region, mayors and governors have traditionally run for office on the same ballot with their deputies.

Men's resignation is expected to be formally accepted Wednesday, according to the governor's spokesman, Andrei Barkovsky.

However, the Moscow city government, which also received a letter from federal prosecutors demanding the ouster of Deputy Mayor Valery Shantsev, reportedly has no plans to comply.

In an interview with Gazeta newspaper on Tuesday, Shantsev said his position would not be affected if the prosecutors press their suit because the city's charter stipulates that he can only be fired by the mayor.

Shantsev, who has been working as Luzhkov's deputy since 1996, said that Moscow has elected deputy mayors along with its mayors since 1991.

"The post of deputy mayor, the person who fills in for the city's leader while he is away, will remain in the city's charter," Shantsev told Gazeta, calling the existing procedure of electing a deputy mayor more democratic than the one put forward by the prosecutors.

Shantsev also said the Prosecutor General's Office has been attempting to limit the power of regional authorities, but its actions have lacked consistency.

"The suit surfaced in August, and in October, elections were held in Kalmykia in which a deputy mayor was elected. And nothing happened, the elections were not annulled," Shantsev said.

The court hearings are to resume Nov. 15, and representatives of the city's election commission are expected to attend.